Friday, 11 March 2011

The Well-Travelled Dog

It has been five days and I have yet to find the words to describe how complete I feel now that Murphy is back with us.  It hasn't been the easiest of days, however, as she came out of quarantine clearly psychologically traumatized.  She was uneasy on walks, stiff and uncomfortable after short bouts of exercise, slightly aloof, and demonstrating moments of incontinence.  All things completely unlike her.
Murphy and baby J Calgary 2003

A quick trip to the vet, some meds, a lot of affection and TLC later, and a few days have put right most of her anxiety, but I still watch her with concern.  Why why why don't dogs live longer lives.  However, the fact that she has made it this far means that I will devote much energy to ensuring her a comfortable and happy life for how ever many years she has left.  Have I mentioned that I love this dog???

 With her two favorite guys Calgary 2004

Unless you are a dog person and I mean REALLY a dog person, I cannot explain the joy brought from her constant companionship.  Murphy follows me from room to room quietly, unobtrusively, content only in my presence.  She looks at every man passed on a walk to check for C2; her disappointment palpable when proven mistaken, her delight physical if she finds him.  I'm not sure that she will completely recover from her experience until C2 returns from his long trip to Western Australia.

Murphy in Stresa, Italy 2006

 C2, J, and Murphy Levanto, Italy 2006

Unlike Geneva, she is allowed into the schoolyard at J's new school in Melbourne.  She happily wiggles from child to child seeking pats and attention but always, always on the lookout for J.  The other day, I turned away to chat with my new Pilates friend, Magella, and Murphy wandered into the after-school care program looking for him.  Most embarressing...especially after she found the cookie stash.

J and Murphy Aix-en-Provence, France 2007

J and Murphy Puplinge, Switzerland 2007

Unless you are a dog person and I mean REALLY a dog person, you cannot feel the warmth and contentment from the trust and unconditional love of a dog, her unwavering gaze as you move about your business.  The sound of her happy sighs after a good walk, her dinner, or a treat of grilled salmon skin.  The frito smell of her feet as she rolls on her back during a good belly rub always brings a smile to my face.

Murphy Les Gets, France 2008

On the shores of Lake Geneva 2009

Murphy is a part of our family, a meaningful and real member.  We plan our vacations so that she can be included.  Living in Europe for the last five years meant that we drove on most holidays and we always chose places where she could join us.  Experience taught me that renting Provence and Tuscany villas meant sourcing places with stairs into the pool for her.  She has been to Lago Maggiore on both the Swiss and Italian sides; to Burgundy, France; the French Alps; Cinque Terre (five times); Tuscany; Provence, the French Ardeche, and throughout much of Switzerland.

Les Gets France with J  2010

Tuscany, Italy 2010 

Murphy is a well-travelled dog.  She was born in 1998 in Kingston, Ontario and at 8 weeks of age, we flew her to join us in Calgary.  She has been travelling ever since, from the foothills of Alberta, to the Rockies in eastern British Columbia, across the Atlantic Ocean to Switzerland, and now after the longest journey of her life, to Melbourne Australia.

On St. Kilda beach, Melbourne on the first day of freedom following her release from quarantine, 
March 2011

Unless you are a dog person and I mean REALLY a dog person, you will think I am waxing nonsense, but if you are, you get it.


Elizabeth said...

beautiful -- I envy you that dog love as it seems so pure and unconditional --

Jawahara said...

Oh Christine, I loved this post. And it made me miss you guys, including Murphy even more. I do understand what you mean. It's sad as our fur-babies age right in front of our eyes. But now that she is back home your Murphy will soon recover everything she is....and she is going to be ecstatic when C2 is home. Btw, did you really surprise J with her arrival or did he know she was coming home? Do tell.

Jen said...

we love you Murphy :)

cathy Strasser said...

Sooo Happy she is back and well love you all.Stay in touch and keep up the blogging i love checking in to see whats happening.

Sailor said...

What an adventurous Dog!

DL NELSON said...


My dogs, all of whom are in the great dog biscuit factory in the sky, were beloved family members. I miss every one of them: Kimm, Nikki, BéBé, Albert, Amadeus and Mika(do), all but one raised from puppies, and The Beeb was found on subway tracks during the Blizzard of 78 and was with us from then on.
Continue to love her.

Anonymous said...

Not a dog person (what you're surprised) but a big Murphy fan and I know all about that unwavering gaze. Hope she enjoys her next expat experience. Her photo album is pretty impressive.


Michelle said...

I totally get it....

M said...

Ok so not so much a 'dog' person, like Sher, but a huge Murphy fan. But then again, Murphy isn't a dog anyways is she?!